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The Problem with Facebook Community Pages

May 17, 2010

If you were on Twitter last week, you may have noticed one particular topic causing a few waves – Facebook. To be exact, Facebook Privacy… or rather lack of. In case you missed it, here’s a very small taster of what people were saying:

  • @DraytonBird: To fully protect your privacy on Facebook, you must click over 50 privacy buttons, then choose among over 170 options. Hmmm.
  • @Marshallk: More Web Industry Leaders Quit Facebook, Call For Open Alternative
  • @rustybrick: Facebook’s Zuckerberg calls his users “dumb” for “trusting” him
  • @beebow: times, they are a-changin’, eh @MerryMorud? via @lookadoo #facebookisscary
  • @markgr: Colleges ‘Freaking Out’ Over New Facebook Community Pages
  • @adamvonwillis: RT @anildash: I’m really enjoying seeing the public dialogue reimagine Facebook as the world’s most elaborate phishing scam #phishbook

It paints a very different story from not too long ago, when Facebook was the Social Media darling. When I first started using Facebook I always thought it was everything Friends Reunited should have been (Friends who…?!), but has the tide started to turn against them?

Two things in particular got me fired up about Facebook this week – both of which revolved around Facebook’s new “Community Pages”.

1. Poof! It’s Gone

It all started on Sunday evening when Facebook popped up a message on my screen wanting to link my Education, Work, and Interests (EG: favourite books, films, music etc.) on my profile to publicly open Facebook Community Pages. The first time this message appeared I pressed the skip button, but this time it didn’t provide me with that option, so I declined.

Then all of a sudden, Poof! It’s gone – all my personal information I so lovingly invested the time in creating when I first set up my Facebook account (you know, back in the days when Facebook didn’t try to force you to share things with the world) disappeared. Evil.

2. Owned

During the above the process, I stumbled upon my company’s Community Page on Facebook. That is when I started delving more into what Community Pages were. In summary, it’s a facade of a corporate page on Facebook, made by Facebook; it collates a news feed of mentions for that company.

If you do a search on a company name, the Community Page appears as “Organization” – interesting they chose this description, rather than “Community Page”, since it gives the impression that it’s a page owned (and controlled) by the organization, which of course it is not.

Granted, it can be quite a useful monitoring tool for companies, though I’m sure this isn’t the intention. However, many companies already have their own company Facebook page and some feel that Facebook should at least ask them for feedback on the information they are showing.

In terms of feedback, the Community Page does display this message…

When you click the link, this is what you get…

So basically, Facebook gives you the middle finger – they’ll ask you for suggestions about your page when they are ready. I then proceeded to click on the link for a number of competitors… after all I have a passion for them too, even if it is a slightly different kind! But joking aside, what’s to stop someone from Microsoft, for example, wanting to “improve” Apple’s Community Page?

From a personal perspective, I know that Facebook has been wanting their piece of the public sharing pie for a while. However, there is a fundamental difference between their service and that of others, in particular Twitter. When we signed up for Twitter we accepted that our tweets would be public. But that’s not the deal most of us made with Facebook.

From a business perspective, all I can say is monitor these Community Pages closely and make sure your Wikipedia entry is up to date because this is their main reference point in terms of content about your company. Time to plant a few more inbound links maybe 😉 

That’s my rant over… Back to normal next week!

From → Social Media

  1. Nice post! I’m not looking forward to all of the redundancy between Corporate pages, Community pages, and businesses who still have Friends pages that they think are their Fan pages, and just… Fan pages. o.O

    Makes me want to go hide under a rock…not really. Maybe just go play some video games and soak up some sun.

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